Tucked away on the slopes of Park City, Utah, our very first group of ambassadors for the Darling Society came together to meet and experience a weekend that was the perfect blend of retreat and business.
As an ambassador, I was nervous yet excited to meet women from across the country and learn even more about the mission of the Darling Society!
The weekend kicked off with a sunset happy hour! We enjoyed bites from roomforty (more to come on them in a moment!) and got to know one another as we cruised on boats around the lake, located at the foot of the mountain.
Before long, it was time to head back to the house and get ready. The traditional Darling Dinner we’ve all come to know and love was about to begin. Chef Steve Fortunato set the tone for the night by introducing us to the heart behind his company Hospitality Collaborative and top Los Angeles-based catering company, roomforty.
There were so many highlights to the weekend but Steve is definitely in my top five–I pulled out my phone and began taking notes as he spoke. He was SO inspiring!
“Hospitality is the art of making people feel valued,” he explained. “Just as much as we can experience a vicious cycle of entitlement within the restaurant industry, we can create a virtuous cycle of generosity.”
Throughout the evening, we sipped on natural red and white wines by Love Wine from Broc Cellars as we sat among the gorgeous decor and a spread of flowers from De La Flor. It wasn’t your typical dinner though– Sarah, the founder of the Darling Society, gave us all table questions to get to know one another better. I can’t tell you the last time I had such meaningful, raw and real conversations with other women. Tears. Were. Shed.
To say the food was “good” would be a serious understatement. Each dish–from the crudo to the handmade pasta, was prepared intentionally and ushered in a collective feeling of love and fullness with each bite.
Following dinner, we gathered around an outdoor fire pit to share about something difficult we’ve faced in our lives and how that “overcoming” now propels us forward or helps us give back to others going through something similar.
The following day, a small group of early risers laced up their sneakers and headed for a sunrise hike. I wished them well as they headed off– but, as a semi-new mom, I took the opportunity to cozy up quietly with a coffee, blanket, and a good book.
The day began with yet another spread of decadent breakfast dishes by roomforty. With coffee and tea in hand, everyone moved into the working part of the morning, where we dug deeper into what it means to be a part of the Darling Society and how we each hope to move outside of our comfort zones in the months to come.
We broke into three groups for afternoon activities at the start of the afternoon. There was something for everyone! One group enjoyed making pasta with chef Adam Nadel from roomforty. I joined the group heading into town to shop through the boutiques in Park City. It felt so nice to grab a golden milk latte and peruse the shops! The last group saddled up and cruised through the mountains on horses.
After the activities, we gathered in the living room for the first sneak peek at various pieces from the upcoming Darling clothing collection. Many Ambassadors said this was the highlight of their weekend–a chance to see the dynamic pieces that will soon be worn by women worldwide. The session led into a thoughtful discussion on how we, as ambassadors, can authentically share the Darling Society with the world, and how clothing can be a gateway to deeper conversations about body image and acceptance.
As we wrapped sessions for the day, we moved outside for Happy Hour, complete with a Darling cocktail, before sitting down for another delicious dinner from roomforty. An Italian-meets-American spread of pizzas and barbecue fueled another evening of intentional conversation between us. I loved seeing all the different conversations taking place across the room and got to talk to with a fellow mom about rhythms and routines for our kids!
On the last morning together, some of the ambassadors woke up to a yoga and stretching session before devouring one last breakfast spread from roomforty–tacos and shakshuka, anyone? We spent the last hour together calling out the light and beauty we discovered in one another during the weekend. There could be no more fitting way to end a Darling Society retreat than with affirmations all around!
After breakfast, it was time to say goodbye– even though the retreat was less than 48 hours, something was solidified during that time together. I walked away with new friendships that I honestly think will last a lifetime (I have Zoom date with another ambassador– Kami– later today!). I can confidently say that barriers were broken down, and we all walked away changed, ready for what is to come in both our futures and the future of the Darling Society.
The weekend set the tone for the road ahead, and I couldn’t be more excited to step into what’s coming next.
Images via Maria Maddocks